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“Victims of elder abuse are parents and grandparents, neighbors and friends.  Elder abuse cuts across race, gender, culture, and circumstance, and whether physical, emotional, or financial. On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we call attention to this global public health issue, and we rededicate ourselves to providing our elders the care and protection they deserve.” President Barack Obama proclaimed yesterday at the White House in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

Around the world, providers, carers, families and friends are coming together to promote a unified message.  It starts with wearing the color purple today, to bring the world together in solidarity against abuse. 

In the England, Age UK is organizing 10K runs in honor of WEAAD and even parachute jumps nationwide!  In British Columbia, a special awards ceremony is being held to recognize special media contributions and initiatives that address the issue.

HelpAge International, a partner of IAHSA, offers us great examples to follow in Thailand, Nepal, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, and more!

Larry Minnix, President and CEO of Leading Age, shares a message on WEAAD with “A Few Minutes with Larry Minnix”.

With the world’s population ageing at a rapid pace, there is a growing need for new ways to provide residential care for older people. IAHSA member Jeffrey Anderzhon, FAIA, has spearheaded the latest edition of Design for Aging, a book that explores successful schemes around the world. Written by an international team of experts in aged care design, the book includes cases from Australia, Denmark, England, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. The authors describe how each scheme has addressed the needs of its residents despite variations in design, geography, cultural factors, medical needs, capital cost, and other factors. Clear, well-documented information for each facility includes:

• Building descriptions and project data, and how the overall design fits within a geographical location

• The type of community, including number of residents, ethnicity, and specific conditions such as dementia

• How to apply universal design principles in different political, social, and regulatory contexts

• How to create a sense of belonging and well-being for residents while building strong connections with the community at large

• What makes a facility able to attract and retain high-quality caregivers

• Environmental sustainability issues, plus indoor and outdoor spaces

Architects and interior designers as well as facility owners and caregivers will find Design for Aging an inspiring and practical guide on how to navigate the many factors involved in creating good designs for aged care environments. Interested in receiving a copy? You can order online.

Photo courtesy of  ClatieK

Are you signed up for the International Federation on Aging’s 11th Global Conference on Aging? This year the event will feature a Senior Government Officials Meeting to discuss the role of Technology in Long Term Care.  Technologies to be reviewed include medication optimization, remote patient monitoring, assistive technologies, remote training, disease management, cognitive fitness and social networking tools. Join the conference from 28 May to 1 June 2012, where speakers will include Professor Greg Tegart,  Richard Watson, Dr Eric Dishman, and Msc. Anneke Offereins. To sign up of for more information, visit the website below!

This morning IAHSA received a visit from the Executive Director of Fundacion Saldarriaga Concha, Dr. Soraya Montoya. The Saldarriaga Concha Foundation is a Colombian institution that has worked since 1973 to increase organizational capacity and societal awareness of issues faced by elderly or disabled persons. The  issue of ageing in Latin America is increasingly urgent, as Latin America has a growing population of older people and relatively underdeveloped social security and healthcare systems. Dr. Montoya stressed the importance preserving the human dignity of older persons. “They do not just need health care and a pension. Those things are important, but it is also very important for older people to feel like they are integrated into society.”

The Foundation is seeking to expand its work in the area of age appropriate technologies to help older people stay connected with their family members. In the past year they have financed courses to help senior learn basic computer skills and their on-line recipe competition received over 800 entrees. “The older people are so happy when they are able to get on the internet and send letters to their son or their grandchild,” said Dr. Montoya. “We really see that the interest is there and we are interested in helping people connect with one another through technology.” Want to stay connected with Saldarriaga Concha? Follow them on Twitter or Facebook or check out this video (Spanish), highlighting the Foundation’s ageing initiatives.


I have been asked to speak at this conference as an older person. When the invitation came it was something of a shock but then I am not different than most other people who do not consider themselves old. We, individually and collectively, tend to exercise mass denial about aging and death. The invitation itself has been a graceful experience since it has challenged me to give consideration to those things that have enabled me to be here today. I really must consider myself old since tomorrow I will celebrate the completion of my 79th year on this earth.

In the brief time allotted to me what I would like to make a series of assertions and perhaps contribute to an agenda not only for this conference but for the work of the Pan-American Health Organization.

No person is an island nor does anything exist in isolation.  All things exist in relationships with continual exchanges. Some of these exchanges go on without anyone’s awareness though they affect us profoundly. The coins of exchange are chemical and electrical.  They go on within us and throughout the universe.

There are other exchanges some of which we are aware and some not; some over which we can exercise some control and then there are others that we can only react to. These exchanges are critical to the growth and development of every individual and to every society. What we are about today is to identify some of these exchanges, highlight how important they are and how in some instances when we can  influence them.

As you will see I feel we must be careful about the phrase “healthy aging”, being neither too pessimistic or too optimistic. Being too pessimistic may further “agism” and discourage individuals but, on the other hand the phrase may create too much optimism. It may both create “a blame the person” attitude for an elder’s limitations and unwittingly absolve society from taking measures to minimize losses in old age and to assure the continued participation of older persons in an age integrated society.

Human beings are part of a species, a special species that can have ideas and act on them, that exists with many others influenced by them and influencing them in turn. In some ways we are in competition with them and among ourselves. Within our species and in relationship to others, there is a constant tension in choosing what is good for me , for us and what is good for others both animate and inanimate.

Concentrating for a moment on the individual, each of us grows old and is old within the context of three realities; the first is the human genome which we inherited from our parents,  the second influences are those externalities that impact us as we strive for a homeostasis; physically emotionally intellectually and yes spiritually and the the third element in human growth and behavior are choices that I make  have made over these and make today; choices that others have made with me and for me and the choices that we make together as a society.

Considering our basic biology , especially within the context of evolution, we can identify three ages of human beings the first of which is from conception of through the period  we  growth to physical maturity and the capacity for production and reproduction.

The Second Age is a period of maximum cellular efficiency that enables us to reproduce and to have the strength, at least necessary in the past, to sustain the species and last, a Third Age, new, at least as normal in the life course, beyond reproduction.

During the First Age an individual grows physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. The primary influences are those nearest and dearest. Gradually other persons become significant as one develops friends, fellow students and workers as well as a very special friend. Human interactions involving affection and instrumental help do not cease with the First Age but continue to be important throughout our lives even for 79 year olds.

Concurrently there are many other externalities that either sustain life and growth or compromise them. Time does not allow a cataloging all of them from the most proximate and significant to the more distant but still influential.

In the Second Age individuals have the opportunity to have children and produce what is necessary to sustain personal and social life. Historically both the first and the second age were marked by high mortality, and frequently, by disability. Relatively few people lived beyond that which is necessary for species survival. However at the beginning of the 20th century a new age Third Age became normal, more usual than not, in which the majority of people in developed countries would experience a significant period of life after the period of reproduction.

The introduction of new medical techniques, vaccinations, other public health measures such as better sanitation, and water supplies as well as new pharmacological agents all contribute to lessening early death with resulting increase in life expectancy and perhaps longevity. Fortunately we have seen improvements in various medical interventions, rehabilitative techniques, prostheses, patient self management approaches as well as societal attitudes and public policies  all mitigating disability as well. In some ways and at least for a time we have interfered with natural selection and survival of the fittest.

However, The basic cellular activity and its consequences have not been altered. In the Third Age cellular repair and replication can not keep pace with cellular deteriorations and losses. These have impact similarly on some populations and differently on others. The menopause is an example of the latter. Changes in skin, eyes, hearing, teeth, short term memory, changes in organ reserve and musculoskeletal losses are virtually universal. Fortunately we have developed approaches to compensate for some losses but the inevitably of death is still omnipresent.

Throughout life there is a gap between individual capacity and external demands. We are always in need of other persons and things outside us. Nothing is more dependent and frail than a child. At all stages of life we seek to narrow the gap by changing the capacity of an individual or making the “environment”, social, physical and even financial, more hospitable.

This gap can render a person frail, to a greater or lesser degree, i.e. living with a disequilibrium between capacity and need. In the Third age this frailty is likely to be  be progressive and intermittent even on a given day.

This relatively new Third Age  leaves us in a terra incognita as individuals and societies work toward identifying the structures, attitudes and behaviors which are important all during life but especially during this Third Age that will make it satisfying to individuals and significant the species as a whole.We are  struggling to further develop and support the mitigating structures needed both for the individual and for the species as a whole, the purpose of this convening.

With the ability of human beings to have clear and distinct ideas and to make choices individually but particularly collectively we can  manipulate our environment to make it, in some instances, more congenial to human survival and personal satisfaction . However, in other instances  in the interest of short term or personal gain we damage it.

In conclusion may I also cite something that is vitally important but often is often overlooked; the importance of civic virtue both in regard to this processes whereby we make decisions and also in regard to the values that undergird them. If societies are to exist, to say nothing of flourish, there must be a degree of civility and conversations that are marked by humility. We live in an era of rapid  increase in knowledge and understandings that challenge us to absorb them. No one has all the answers. In addition to the process considerations he must also invoke and be committed to the importance of social justice and social solidarity, balancing autonomy and social responsibility, the development of the common good and common goods, of reciprocity and solidarity, of adequacy and equity.

It seems to me that this kind of activity today and more importantly what the Pan-American Health Organization strives to articulate and to concretize all of these values in a very practical manner.

On a personal note I can identify a series of externalities that have contributed to me being here today I look back at loving parents educational systems that have enabled me to continually grow even until this present time. I am grateful for health systems that not only have saved my life on several occasions but have developed various compensatory approaches, prostheses and pharmaceuticals that have minimized my actual and potential frailty. I appreciate an economy while flawed and even fragile in some instances still has provided the goods and services which we need and want. Vaccinations have almost been taken for granted. I have lived within the context of a decent physical environment with minimum air pollution, good sanitation and the supply of good drinking water. I have been an am the beneficiary of public commitments resulting Social Security and Medicare that afford me me and millions of others with a degree of economic security and access to needed medical services without undue burden.

We live in a society with governmental structures and that foster freedom but also promote, albeit sometimes uncertainly and unevenly, social goods, concern for the marginated.

I must admit be somewhat unique position , hardly typical, since I am a single, white, straight, old Catholic priest, living in a religious community having been in the academic, professional worlds that have afforded me the opportunity to continue to be fully alive and to be significantly involved in the well-being of others and of society as a whole.

It is my hope that all persons in the”ThirdAge” have analogous opportunities.

In conclusion I am grateful to the Pan-American Health Organization’s challenge for me to remember, to  reflect more deeply and to appreciate more fully the structures and the people who have contributed and sustained the life giving environment that have given me the gift of seventy nine generally satisfying years.

Among all these things that which is most precious and sustaining are people who from the very beginning of my existence even till now  have and do love me and who allow me into their lives as well.

~Msgr. Charles J Fahey, Address to the Pan American Health Organization, Washington D.C. USA, 12 April 2012

IAHSA is pleased to announce that we have received Arcadia as our first Peruvian member. A full service CCRC, the facility is currently under construction and will open in March of 2013. As a functioning property, the home will have a total of 100 apartments that are available to couples and singles; residents will have access to a pool, garden, communal barbeque area, as well as recreational programming. “Our goal is to have a first class CCRC right here in Lima,” said one of the founding business partners, Augusto Elias. “For a long time in Peru, residences for the elderly have been seen in a negative light. Our goal at Arcadia is to give seniors a wonderful place to call home with access to all to supportive services they need to maintain optimal wellbeing.”

Persons interested in learning more are encouraged to visit the website or email

Rendering courtesy of Arcadia Residencias Para La Tercera Edad.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) sponsored a walk in Visakhapatnam to celebrate World Health Day on Saturday. This event reflects a shift in national thinking on health, from controlling infectious diseases to managing noncommunicable diseases that frequently occur in older populations.  The Health Ministry of India has announced plans to set up eight geriatric care centres across the country under its National Programme for Healthcare for the Elderly. It will also initiate geriatric units at 100 district hospitals in 21 states and units at community and primary health centres.

Over the past century, life expectancy in India has dramatically increased and India now shares the prospect of supporting a large number of older persons.  The World Health Organization has developed four policy recommendations for countries to promote wellness and limit strain on the medical system. These recommendations include promoting healthy behaviours at all ages to prevent or delay the development of chronic diseases. Specifically, WHO recommends eating better, quiting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and increasing physical activity.

Photo courtesy  Victor Frankowski

The China International Senior Services Expo will be held in Shanghai  at the World Expo Convention Centre from 17 – 19 May 2012.

The China International Senior Services Expo (CHINA AID 2012) has been successfully held for 6 times since its debut in 2000.  The event is organised by IAHSA member  China Association of Social Welfare along with China Silver Industry Association and the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau. The event is endorsed by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and China National Committee on Ageing. The event features hundreds of exhibitors from around the world as well as site visits and policy symposia that allow attenees to develop an understanding of the Chinese senior care industry.

The goal of the China International Senior Services Expo to promote the implementation of the Plan for the Development of Social Senior Service System (2011-2015) and the Year for the Development of Social Senior Service System. Specifically it will cover the areas of eco-friendly residential environment, rehabilitation, healthcare, spiritual/cultural needs, organization management, IT services and products, human resource training, and brand promotion. The event provides a networking platform for investors, providers, and exhibitors that are seeking to break in to the Chinese senior service industry and gives you access to strategic influencers in Chinese senior care.

More information can be found at

Reminder!  Only 11 days left to submit your abstract to “Aging in a Changing World,” October 18 – 20, 2012, in Vancouver, BC!  Abstracts are due April 2, 2012.

The CAG Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting is the primary multi-disciplinary conference in Canada for those interested in individual and population aging.  It features world renowned keynote speakers from the health and social sciences, cutting-edge symposia, opportunities to present papers and posters, and an exciting social program.

Individuals are encouraged to submit abstracts that address the conference theme, although ALL submissions will be given equal consideration.  Abstracts are due April 2, 2012.

Please visit the website to view:

– Call for Abstracts

– Student Poster Competition

– Travel Assistance Grants

– Preliminary program

The 2012 ASEM is hosted by Simon Fraser University Department of Gerontology and Gerontology Research Centre.

Photo courtesy s.yume

in Latin America, many older people scrape by without a pension; often times they live in poverty without access to food, housing or medical care. To address this problem, the Government of Mexico City and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean will host an international event from 26 to 28 March, 2012, to discuss measures to ensure economic security among elders. The aim of the meeting is to contribute, from the Latin American and Caribbean perspective, to the work that is being developed by the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing and the Working Group on the Protection of the Human Rights of Older Persons of the Organization of American States. For more information on the event, click here.

You might also want to check out this video from HelpAge International on their efforts to ensure human rights of older people in Bolivia and Peru.

About this blog

IAHSA’s Global Ageing Network Blog was created because of you!! We got your message loud and clear – “Provide us with a quick and nimble communications vehicle so we can stay connected and create community across borders".

Questions? Email us at


Virginia Nuessle, Study Tour Director

Majd Alwan, Director, CAST

Alla Rubinstein, Program Administrator, IAHSA

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